Every year, three openly gay high school seniors in Iowa will be awarded scholarships to attend Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I. The scholarships are bankrolled by a Des Moines businessman and awarded in the name of Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student who was beaten to death in a 1998 hate crime case. Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother, was on hand for a statehouse ceremony this afternoon to announce the scholarships. Shepard said her son would be honored to know the scholarships were being presented in his name. She says she hopes the recipients can live free of fear. Fear of discrimination, hate and physical harm.Shepard says she wouldn’t get out of bed every day if she thought things couldn’t change for the better.Shepard says two, Des Moines-based clubs for gays and lesbians will award the scholarships.Governor Tom Vilsack said the scholarships would hopefully provide comfort to the Shepard family.The scholarships will cover tuition, books and fees for up to four years. Mrs. Shephard speaks at eight o’clock tonight at Iowa State University.
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